Happy Friday all! First off, I want to thank everyone for their kind words and congratulations from our Engagement post. It has been a lot of fun sharing the news with everyone, and the biggest advice we are receiving so far is to enjoy this time and don't let the wedding planning stress us out. I'll be honest, I am a huge planner, so not sure if I can do this stress free, but I am excited about all of the different ideas that are out there on Pinterest and from different bloggers. Let's just say the research for ideas has begun and I can't wait to share my journey along the way.
Today I wanted to share some of my favorite places around town. Columbus Ohio might be known for our awesome college football team (Go Bucks!), but we have some other amazing qualities as well. Below are 5 of my favorite things to do in our city, and if you are ever come to visit, you definitely need to check out!
1. Central Ohio Parks
Did you know that Columbus has 17natural area parks with around 200 miles of trails and protects more than 27,000 acres of land and water? And there are even more in the surrounding areas. There are a ton of things you can do: hiking, bike riding, canoeing and fishing. And many of the parks have dog trails and some even have dog parks. Alum Creek even has a dog beach where your pup can play in the water. A couple of our favorites are: Alum Creek where we like to go kayaking and Rick goes fishing (oh and we got engaged here!); Highbanks, which is really close to our house and has a great dog trail; and the Olentangy Trail which is a 13 mile trail which starts at the northern part of Columbus and then runs through several parks, through the Ohio State University and into Downtown. We typically like to ride our bikes on this trail down to the Park of Roses.
2. Columbus Food Trucks
Recently Columbus has had an explosion of gourmet food trucks. You can now find them all over the Columbus metro area, and they are even starting to visit some larger office complexes which is always a treat during a long work-day. Because of the popularity, last year we started the annual Columbus Food Truck Festival. Of course Rick and I totally had to participate. I have tried probably about 15 different trucks, and my favorites are Pitabilities, MoJo TaGo Tacos, Street Thyme, and of course the Cheesy Truck! Another option if you are visiting is to take a Food Tour. There are a couple of options including the Taco Truck Tour (which I have gone on, and let me say is an experience), Dessert Tour, Short North Walking Tour and the German Village Walking Tour, just to name a few. It’ a great way to experience some awesome eats here in Columbus in a short period of time.
3. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
If you are looking for the best ice cream in the whole wide world, you have to stop off at Jeni’s. Jeni’s started in 2002 in a small shop in the North Market, and she has since then grown to 9 shops in Ohio and 1 in Tennessee. She has very unique flavors like Salty Caramel, Brambleberry Crisp, Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk, Sweet Corn and Black Raspberries, and my favorite The Buckeye State. She uses grass-grazed Ohio cream, local produce, and carefully sources her ingredients including rare, fair trade vanilla and bean-to-bar chocolate.
4. Easton Town Center
One of my favorite places to shop is Easton Town Center. Easton is fun because it set up to look like a classic American main street. It consists of a ton of shops, restaurants, and has fountains and other fun outdoor activities for kids and adults of every age. In the summertime you may find anything from a street fair to a farmer’s market to kids playing in the fountains. At Christmas time the entire place is covered with twinkle lights and you can take horse-drawn carriage rides. There is also a very large movie theater, a comedy club, and Shadow Box which is a combination of sketch comedy and a rock-in-roll show (I think it’s kind of like Saturday Night Live).
5. Columbus Zoo
Our zoo has received worldwide recognition, and was named by the USA Travel Guide as the number one zoo in the United States in 2009, and ranked number one best zoo in 2012 by the Besties Readers Choice. They are always adding new exhibits and have fun events such as Boo at the Zoo and the Wild Lights. Next door is Zoombezie Bay which is a water park with 11 different water rides. I have shared several posts over the last year, so you can find out more here, here and here.
These are just a few of my favorite things to do in Columbus, and I would love to share even more in the future. You can check out some of the other fun places around town that I have blogged about here.
I also have another fun treat today. I have been working with Kendra Thornton who is from Chicago, and she wanted to share some of her places to visit in her hometown.
Chicago is a fabulous metropolis with no lack of things to do, places to see or fun to be had. The difficult part can be choosing what to do, especially if you’re visiting the city for only a short time. In the realms of food, entertainment, lodging and attractions, there are a few things that should not be missed. As a resident of Chicago, I’ve listed four things I believe every visitor to the city should have on their itinerary.
1. Great Food from Uncle Lou!
One of the best places to eat in Chicago is the family friendly Lou Mitchell’s on the southeast corner of Jackson and Jefferson Boulevards. Proprietor “Uncle Lou” serves some of the best food in the city, and his prices are as awesome as his food! All kids and ladies who enter the restaurant are treated to free Milk Duds. Milk Duds are a product of Chicago and their inventor was a Lou Mitchell’s regular customer and a good friend of Uncle Lou.
2. Great Buys and Historical Views on Oak Street
Just one block north of the famous “Magnificent Mile” on N. Michigan Avenue, Oak Street is a smaller but still spectacular shopping destination. There are some great boutiques here, and even if you don’t want to spend a lot, you’ll want to spend time on Oak Street for the sights and historical feel. Many of the stores are converted townhomes and brownstones. Stores include Kate Spade, Hermes, Jimmy Choo and Sofia Vintage. Most of the Oak Street boutiques are closed on Sundays so plan your trip accordingly!
3. Broadway in Chicago
Broadway plays and musicals in Chicago? You bet! Broadway in Chicago consists of five theaters that feature touring productions of Broadway shows. See the most popular shows like “Wicked,” ”The Phantom of the Opera,” “Chicago” (of course!) and many more. Broadway in Chicago (BIC) was created in 2000 and has become one of the top touring homes in the country. This is a great idea for a fun family affair, or for a nice evening out with just your spouse.
4. The City
Chicago’s downtown is constantly evolving and experiencing resurgences. The metropolis is one of the best in America, and its beauty matches the mystique. Your choices are numerous, but to take advantage of the beauty and excitement of downtown, pick a hotel there. Chicago at night is a beautiful sight to behold. You won’t regret choosing a hotel in the heart of the city. Check out websites like gogobot for deals and reviews on hotel stays.
These are just a few of her recommendations for a great Chicago adventure. There is really no limit to what this great city has to offer, but this list includes some of her Chicago essentials.
So what do you think? Interested in visiting either city?
And for more Friday fun, check out the Five on Friday linkup hosted by Christina, Darci, April and Natasha. Also linking up with Lauren from Style Elixir for Friday's Fab Favorites.